LSU’s search for a defensive coordinator is hitting its stride.
Coach Les Miles is in Dallas this weekend meeting with multiple candidates for the Tigers’ vacant defensive coordinator position, a source told The Advocate, and a couple of new names have entered the mix to replace John Chavis.
LSU has contacted Penn State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop, a source said, and Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops interviewed with Miles on Saturday, according to a report from an Oklahoma City television station.
Shoop joins a group of coaches whom Miles has contacted to replace Chavis. The coach has reached out to former Pac-12 and NFL coordinator Clancy Pendergast and former Auburn coach Gene Chizik, a source said. Chizik reportedly has accepted the same job at North Carolina.
Chavis left LSU for Texas A&M on Wednesday, a day after the Tigers lost the Music City Bowl to Notre Dame, ending his six-year stay in Baton Rouge. Chavis landed in College Station on Thursday, exiting a private jet with A&M coach Kevin Sumlin.
LSU defensive line coach Brick Haley, a good friend of Chavis’, was rumored to join him in College Station. Defensive end Jermauria Rasco said after the bowl game that he would expect Haley to leave with Chavis.
That hasn’t happened.
The search for Chavis’ replacement has led Miles to Dallas for a meeting with a pool of candidates. Miles’ agent, George Bass, is based in Dallas. Bass has not returned messages from The Advocate.
The salary for the new coordinator is expected to be similar to that of Chavis, who made $1.3 million per year.
Shoop, 48, just completed his first season as coordinator of the Nittany Lions, following head coach James Franklin from Vanderbilt. Shoop was defensive coordinator for three seasons at Vandy, helping the Commodores win 24 games in that stretch. Vandy never finished outside of the top 25 in total defense those three years.
Shoop, a Pennsylvania native who played wide receiver at Yale, had stints as defensive coordinator at Yale (1994-96), Villanova (’97), Massachusetts (2006) and William & Mary (’07-’10).
Stoops, 53, just completed his third season as Oklahoma’s defensive coordinator. His units have ranked 65th, 20th and 52nd in total defense. The Sooners finished this season a disappointing 8-5, the team’s worst record since 2009. They allowed at least 30 points seven times, including a 40-6 loss to Clemson on Monday in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
Stoops was head coach at Arizona for eight seasons, going 41-50. He was fired after the 2011 season and rejoined his brother, head coach Bob Stoops, at Oklahoma.
Mike Stoops coached defensive backs and served as co-defensive coordinator for the Sooners from 1999-2003.
Miles has a history with Stoops. While head coach at Oklahoma State, Miles and his Cowboys competed against Oklahoma yearly. Also, former LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini replaced Mike Stoops as defensive coordinator at Oklahoma in 2004 before taking the head coaching job at Nebraska.
Whoever replaces Chavis will be only the fourth defensive coordinator at LSU in Miles’ 10 years, following Pelini (2005-07), co-coordinators Bradley Dale Peveto and Doug Mallory (2008) and Chavis (09-14).
Former Ole Miss head coach Ed Orgeron has not been contacted by LSU, he said. Orgeron, who now lives in Mandeville and is out of coaching, would “love” to be at LSU, he said during a radio interview this past week.